New Jersey Shore, New Jersey – As you gear up for summer and are headed for the New Jersey Shore, there are many locations that have been working hard over the course of the past two years to prepare for summer visitors. Here is a rundown of the work that has been made since Super Storm Sandy devastated the Shore.
© Morey’s Piers
There are two places on the New Jersey Shore that received crippling damage during Super Storm Sandy; Keansburg Amusement Park and Casino Pier in Seaside Heights. These two places spent 2013 in recovery but remained open to visitors even as they made repairs. Keansburg Amusement Park, which is over 100 years old, is located on the Raritan Bay. It was flooded during the Hurricane in October of 2012 and the property was buried under tons of sand displaced by the storm. Many tried help try to dig out the park’s 40 year old Wildcat coaster, but the damage was too great. Keansburg assured everyone that they would deliver a new ride to coaster lovers and they will bring a newly relocated (from Beech Bend Park) Pinfari coaster to their park. 2014 will mark the first time the park will be at 100 % since Hurricane Sandy with other additions to Keansburg including a new Wave Swinger ride, a newly refurbished Chance Carousel, and a reconstructed version of the Spook House, the park’s haunted house, which was also heavily damaged in the storm.
Super Storm Sandy’s devastation at Casino Pier in Seaside Heights were burned in people’s minds with images of the Jet Star roller coaster sinking into the ocean after the storm ravaged it. The recovery efforts have been profound but they have not even touched the surface of what is left to be done. Then fire struck in 2013 in Seaside Park and destroyed part of the Funtown Pier. It should be noted that it’s largely misunderstood that the damage was more extensive and widespread than it was, perhaps because of the similarities of the municipalities’ names. The portion of the boardwalk that were rebuilt prior from damage caused by Hurricane Sandy were NOT destroyed by this fire. The fire was caused by wiring that was damaged by storm damage. As much as the Casino Pier remains under construction, brand new rides continued to arrive through 2013 and into this year. Last year, the brand new walk-through funhouse called Beach Shack arrived as well as the thrill ride SuperStorm (a nod to the storm that could not keep the people of New Jersey down) were the main additions. 2014 will bring the addition of a Zamperla Air Racer ride relocated from Coney Island’s Luna Park in New York, and later from Lagoon Park in Utah.
Jack Morey of Morey’s Piers in Wildwood hopes that 2014 is better than last year. “If you would have believed the media after the storm, there were going to be hundreds of thousands of people coming to the Wildwoods and it was going to be the best year ever. The truth is that it was a really tough year.” Morey’s Piers added a new Wave Swinger ride for 2014 which will include decorations of the Wildwood boardwalk. They are renaming one of their piers as well. The Adventure Pier is being renamed as the “Pier that Rocks”. This particular pier has a few large roller coasters and other high thrill attractions in addition to a concert stage and a radio studio.
Jenkinson’s Boardwalk located in Point Pleasant Beach returns for the 2014 season with one new attraction, a Kite Flyer ride. This type of ride has riders lying flat in two-passenger cars with outstretched arms flying Superman-style. “It’s a fun ride that’s for everyone,” said Toby Wolf, from Jenkinson’s Boardwalk spokeperson. “It’s not just for little kids, and it’s not just a thrill ride”.
The amusement park that has changed the most in the two years since Super Storm Sandy has been Playland’s Castaway Cove in Ocean City. They added seven new rides last year, this summer they will be adding two upgrades and one more new ride. Brian Hartley, vice president of Castaway Cove said, “We knew 2013 wasn’t going to be great after Hurricane Sandy, but with the good interest rates, it just made sense to invest in new rides. There’s a lot of people that didn’t come that will come this year that will see the seven new rides and see them as new for this year.” The rides were even featured on a Travel Channel special. One in particular called Tropical Storm is like a Gravitron on steroids, hoisting riders in the air on a mechanical arm and whirling them vertically. No other park in the United States has a ride like it.
Funland, an amusement park in Sea Isle City that was badly damaged by Hurricane Sandy won’t be reopening this summer or ever. The owner of Funland is closing the park for good. Jay Gillian spent over $2 million to build the park, but it suffered hundreds of thousands of storm damage. In 2013 the owner could only partially open and now the owner says he will focus solely on his park in Ocean City. Gillian’s Pier in Ocean City should be 100% operational in 2014.
Now that the shore has two years of recovery under under its belt, hopefully 2014 will be a sunny summer season!